Friday, March 07, 2003

WELL FOLKS, I HAVE HIT ON IT! Before there was a "Cuban Missile Crisis" there was 1854's "Black Warrior Crisis". Better known as the "The Black Warrior Affair"(American Historical Review,XII,1907, p281), this little incident in Havana harbor concerning the Spanish confiscation of the Mobile,Alabama merchant ship,Black Warrior, put the U.S. and Spain on the brink of war.
More details later. Ya'll help me out on this one at

Thursday, March 06, 2003

One last thing... Received a nice email from Jorge Perez-Lopez thanking me for telling him about Alabama-Cuba Week, inviting me to join The Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE) and also an invitation to attend their 13th annual meeting in Coral Gables this August. Where there's a will, there's a way. Later mis amigos, rr

Boy, did I have a ball surfing the Net this evening! The best thing was a the log of the sailboat, Pangaea. Marsha and Jean really had a ball checking in at all the ports of call around the island and giving detailed descriptions of the Guarda and other bureaucrats they encountered in 2000. Let me try to post their websiteOK...It's on the screen right now but I don't know if it will post. I'll just write it out. It's that good.
I also fell in love with Marina Tarara near the Bay of Pigs and the Zapata Peninsula National Park. Casto has established a lot of "biosphere reserves" so at least something will be preserved when the flights from Miami International begin. One guy fishing out of Marina Tarara caught 67 bonefish in one day! Man, I could get a job down there teaching English to the employees in the tourist industry. They're making 'em all take English everyday now. Cuba has 6700 species of higher plants. 14,000 invertebrates. 650 vertebrates including the world's tiniest frog and the world's tiniest bird, the bee hummingbird. Oh yeah. has a great Cuba page and there's a new Field Guide to Birds of Cuba which covers 354 species with 51 color plates. Buenas noches, mis amigos. Hasta la vista. Manana! roberto

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Day Five and the excitement continues to mount. Found out about a terrific organization today, The Association For The Study Of The Cuban Economy. A paper by Douglas Harper, entitled Restitution of Property In Cuba: Lessons Learned From East Europe, was presented at the organization's 9th annual meeting in Coral Gables in '99. Their 13th annual meeting will be held this August in Coral Gables. Harper's 16 page paper was just what I was looking for so I will retire to my favorite chair and learn more about Cuba's future after Castro. ohyeah, the University of Alabama site for the Alabama-Cuba Initiative isDon't know what's going on with blogger but I cannot seem to get Internet addresses on my posts. Maybe I will have to consult a computer guru.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003



«La Patria no es de nadie: y si es de alguien, sera, y esto solo en espiritu, de quien la sirva con mayor desprendimiento e inteligencia».

José Martí

Americans who really know Cuban exiles don't hate them
By Charley Reese

A Cuban friend of mine said he was saddened to discover during the Elian Gonzalez controversy how many Americans hated the Cuban exiles.

I'm sad that he feels that way. Americans who really know the Cuban exile community don't hate its members. If you wanted to rate people on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the most patriotic, the most self-reliant, the most industrious, the most willing to volunteer and, if necessary, sacrifice themselves for their native and adopted countries, the Cuban exile community would be a 10-plus.

The problem is that leftist twits, who infect the American communications media and academia like body lice, are forever slandering the Cubans, depicting them as anti-democratic right-wingers or old Batista supporters or outright fascists. They routinely have accused the Cuban community in Miami of exploiting the little boy.

Only two groups have exploited Elian Gonzalez. One is the news media who camped outside the Miami family's home, without permission or invitation, to photograph the little fellow every time he came out of the house. That is exploitation, not to mention an invasion of privacy.

The other exploiter of Elian Gonzalez has been Fidel Castro, the dictator of Cuba, whose usual attitude toward Cuban children trying to flee the island is to have his goons drown them, shoot them or put them into prison. Anybody who thinks that Castro really gives a damn about Elian is a fool. His only purpose is to make the United States look bad.

All the Cuban community in Miami did was take into their hearts a little boy fished from the sea. They have tried to provide him with the love and support a boy who lost his mother needs. Again, it was not the Cubans who invited the news media to make a circus out of their attempts to comfort a hurting child.

But that is one of the ugly realities of the news racket as it has evolved in the United States. The press will not only exploit the heck out of someone else's pain, it will deny that it is doing so and, if possible, blame the victims.

As for those who hide their cold hearts behind the chant of "The law is very clear," I say, with a Charles Dickens character, that if consigning a 6-year-old to hell is the law, then the law is "a ass, a idiot."

As a matter of fact, when the boy's body was laid on the deck of an American fishing boat, he had reached America and should have been granted asylum. Then his custody could have been settled in a calm way in a family court. Instead the Immigration and Naturalization Service has denied him asylum and decreed that no one could speak for him except his father in Cuba, effectively denying him his day in court. Other children who have living fathers have people appointed to speak for them in American courts fairly routinely.

But don't blame the Cuban community in Miami for the sin of not liking the American left's last remaining communist hero. They know what a crazy fiend Castro is. Many of them were initially Castro supporters until they found out the hard way that they had been deceived. Nor are they all rightists. Many are liberal in the better sense of that word. They just don't define their liberalism as blind devotion to communist goons.

Cuban exiles saved Miami when it was in steep decline, revitalized it and made it into one of the most interesting cities in North America. They have contributed more to America than many native-born Americans can ever claim, which is probably why some native-born Americans resent them so. They haven't lain around, sucking up welfare dollars, or made a cottage industry out of feeling sorry for themselves. They are a proud, brave people, and we are better for their presence

CUBA LIBRE' !!!! Found the UA Cuba Week website and have enjoyed it, however, I am suspicious of anyone who can get along with Casto's thugs.Click on (For some reason I can't get my hot links to show up. Guess I'll have to study my Blogger 1010 One thing that encouraged me was a terrific website that chronicles the suffering of LIBRARIANS in Cuba right now. Check in out at Here's a classic quote from Paul Echaniz summarized the mood by asking: "Can we speak of culture in a country where freedom of expression, the oxygen of art, does not exist?... In Guadalajara the Cuban government demonstrated that it does not have the capacity for dialogue or for the free debate of ideas, nor does it have the most minimal respect for differing points of view. Nothing new, for sure." Lots more to do in preparation for Alabama-Cuba Week but it must wait for another day. Vaya Con Dios, Ya'll.

Monday, March 03, 2003

Day Three and the wheels of progress continue to turn. If you really want to get sick to your stomach, click on
This is the course syllabus for a philosophy class at Queens University(Kingston, Ontario) entitled IDIS 309- Development Ethics In Cuba. When you take this class you get to hear from all these great brains from the University of Havana who tell you how Fidel eliminated illiteracy in 18 months by teaching the peons how to read words like "agrarian reform" and "fishing cooperatives". Hey, that son of a bitch needs to come to Greene County!!!!!
Seriously, this effort at the University of Alabama may very well lead students toward this same sort of gobbledeegoop dished out by Castro's "Masters of Deceit". I feel sorry for the parents who pay for their children to go to Havana to have their heads filled with this stinking garbage. To think that some of the students who will soon go there will be from the University of Alabama. It makes my heart sink.
I mentioned one of Mobile's favorite sons yesterday, Dr. William Crawford Gorgas. Gorgas arrived at Siboney in Cuba on July 7, 1898. As sanitation officer there he fought yellow fever by burning down the village of Siboney as well as the Siboney Hospital.(sounds like Fidel's answer to the problem). In December of '99, Gorgas was made chief sanitary officer of the Department of Havana. He liked to place the legs of hospital beds in dishes of water to prevent bugs from getting on his patients. Some of these dishes are now on display at the Gorgas House on the university campus. Working under Dr. Walter Reed, Gorgas found out the truth about yellow fever and in the process of cleaning up Havana, he built an international reputation as a sanitarian.
I'm gonna sign out for now. I received some nice feedback from my first post on Saturday but nothing has come out of my second post. Regardless, I learn more each day and with each click of the mouse, I learn how Casto's bloody regime receives aid and comfort on North America's college campuses. Casto's Ethics....Do any of those lazy, worthless professors understand the meaning of the words freedom and liberty?

Sunday, March 02, 2003

"Cuba seems to be the grave of all my hopes and property."
John Innerarity,June 16, 1848

Anyone interested in this material should contact me at

Today I thought about my ancestors sitting on the wharfs of Eufaula, Columbia, Apalachicola, Columbus, Fort Gaines, Bainbridge, St. Andrew, Geneva, Pensacola and Mobile, awaiting the boats from Cuba filled with cigars, rum, sugar, coffee, pineapples, bananas, oranges, coconuts and molasses. Soon I will have the opportunity to enjoy the riches and natural resources of the island.
What a stack of stuff I assembled this morning...
As we begin our work to free Cuba, let each of us have a moment of silence for Thomas Ray, member of the Alabama Air National Guard, who sacrificed his life for the Cuban Republic and the Cuban People at the Bay of Pigs, Matanzas Province, in 1961.
The Repubic of Cuba, 44,206 square miles, population(1960) 6,743,000. 2002 marked the centennial of the Cuban Congress and the establishment of the Republic of Cuba. 8 reales plata = 1 peso; 100 centesimos= 1 Escudo or Peseta
William Crawford Gorgas had a career in Cuba. Need to look that up. Found a memorial to the Martires de la Ciencia(Martyrs of Science) and to Carlos Finley, who perfected the insect hypothesis for yellow fever. Need details on those experiments.
Bronner envisions US Air in Havana. Domingo Rosillo got the ball rolling in 1913 when he completed the first airplane flight from Key West to Havana.
Need to get details on Cuban espionage. I believe Owsley cited documents that showed Andrew Jackson had spies in the Havana barrooms. One overheard Nichols bragging about his ragtag Indian/Negro army and used the information to successfully fortify and defend Mobile Point. Fort Boyer was the name of the fortification located at present day Fort Morgan.There should be other great spy stories from the Civil War, World War !, WWII and the Cold War.
I wonder if the library at the University of Havana needs any books or computers.
Found the Rotary Club commemorated on a 1955 Cuban stamp. Need the check civic club activity in Cuba.
Boss Tweed escaped from New York City to Havana on December 4, 1875. Havana has always been a good place to hide for Alabamians. I'll dig up the arrests of notorious Alabama characters in Cuba by Alabama lawmen.
Found where W.C. Handy played Havana during an early national tour.
Need to check out the status of the Capablanca Club. Capablanca won the World Chess Title in about 1900.Contact Chess Club at the University of Alabama.
Need to check out Havana's Vedado neighborhood and El Patronato and El Centro Hebreo Sefardi temples.
Check on American exports to Cuba from Apalach, Pensacola and Mobile, especially livestock and pork.
Contact Antonio de la Cova. He wrote Filibusters and Freemasons: The Sworn Obligation. This study details of four filibuster invasions between 1848 and 1851 aimed at overthrowing the Spanish. I found a 1950 Cuban stamp today commemorating Narciso Lopez' landing at Cardenas on May 19, 1850. Need to get list of the 521 expeditionaries who left Key West. Good story on the weapons provided by the state militias of Louisiana and Mississippi.
I knew I had heard of William Sharkey before. Sharkey was the U. S. Consul who swore William Rufus King into office at Ariadne Plantation near Watangas in 1853. I believe the same dude in 1850 who, as Chief Justice of the Mississippi High Court of Errors and Appeals, provided Lopez with legal opinions circumventing the U.S. Neutrality Law. Sharkey was a Master Mason and in 1825 was a member of Washington Lodge, No. 3. Remember that Robert Downman, Worshipful Master of Halo Lodge, No. 5, in Cahaba, was killed along with Lopez in Cuba during the 1851 invasion.Check the records of Rising Virtue #4.
Need to see whether the Jack Holmes collection of Archivo General microfilms is same as the one we have at the University of Alabama. There is no directory for Bama's collection.
Check on tarpon fishing on the South Coast.
Contact Daniel Brooks at Arlington House and Samford about his Rufus King book.
Gather early entertainment circuits that included Havana.
Cuban toasts and Cuban drinking..."Next Year In Havana" the Miami Exile Toast
Discuss the future of surveying, land title and public domain in Cuba. History and present law.
Detail the Spanish evacuations out of Pensacola, Mobile and New Orleans after the Louisiana Purchase(1803), The West Florida Rebellion(1810), the U.S. occupation of Mobile(1813) and the U.S. annexation of Florida in 1821.
Cuban-Alabamian Studies....CubaBama..Check on the Cuban entertainment group, Alabama.
Check on pork and chicken exports to Cuba.
The Philatelic Club of Havana.Check the status of the U.S. blockade concerning Cuban stamps. Email Clayton about the Las Casas stamp.
Teddy Roosevelt didn't charge up San Juan Hill.During the Battle of Santiago, General Joe Wheeler,who had been carried to the battle on an ambulance, jumped on his horse when his men's charge was going badly and as his leadership caused the charge to succeed, Fightin' Joe yelled out,"The Yankees are running! They are leaving their guns! Oh, damn it! I didn't mean Yankees. I meant the Spaniards!"
Cigar business with Rod and Thomas.
Check out the status of the Cuban Boy Scouts.
Just before he died in Matanzas on April 24, 1827, Israel Pickens, third Alabama Governor who lived in Greensboro, wrote a memo concerning the $2000 he owned the University of Alabama Trustees for the rent of U of A land.
La Quinta Columna: Hitler's boys and girls in Havana
Havana during the Civil War...The Mobile Connection
Found a June 5, 1956 Cuban stamp illustrating the Masonic Temple in Havana. Check out newspaper articles on Cuban Masons.
Go to Greensboro and check out the home of Richmond Pearson Hobson.
Cuban medical history
Smuggling booze in the '20's

Almost three years ago, I drew the attention of Chip Forbes of the FORBES Magazine family. The FORBES Collection archivist,Bill Casari, got in touch with me and I proposed doing an article on John Forbes in Cuba. Forbes retired to his plantation, Canimar, in Matanzas in 1816. There may be some old law suits in Cuba that could give us a lot of insight into Forbes and the other Matanzas planters who came from the Gulf South.
I have the Plan for the Town of Colinton which was supposed to have been built near present day Fort Gadsden north of Apalachicola. Colin Mitchel was a Havana businessman who bought the Forbes Purchase.
Contact Ernie de la Fe'
Joseph Marion Hernandez91793-1857) is buried in the San Carlos Cemetery, Matanzas, Cuba. He was a delegate to Congress from the Florida Territory in 1822-23. He was a member of the Florida Territorial House of Representatives. He was the brigadeer general of the Mounted Volunteers who captured Osceola in July, 1837. He was an unsuccessful Whig candidate for the U.S. Senate in 1845. He moved to the district of Coliseo and died at the sugar estate, "Audaz", on June 8, 1857. He is buried in the Junco family vault in Matanzas.Check out the Florida Constitution Museum in Port St. Joe.
Let me close by saying that I will never believe the lies that "pre-Revolutionary" Cuba was a despicable hell hole. I know better but I don't think I can ever understand how the Cuban people allowed one man to sink their nation down into such a pit of misery and suffering. Maybe each of us can work each day to help Cuba move ahead as we remind the Cuban people of the pride and joy of their immense heritage. Robert Register